[Marxism] El Telón de Azúcar, Cuba and socialism
Waistline2 at aol.com
Waistline2 at aol.com
Fri Apr 10 16:06:34 MDT 2009
>> Many people -not only Stalinists, to be honest to ourselves- had a
dream during the 20th Century, a dream grounded in a somehow metaphisical belief
that whatever the chances the Soviet Union would never fall down. This
belief was not only naïve but in a sense crudely Positivist (against
Hegelian), and expressed a deep conviction that once socialism had taken grip,
however distortedly and cruelly, somewhere in a large industrial society (and by
the early 60s the SU was beginning to have some of the traits of
industrial societies), then every experiment tending to favor national liberation in
the Third World would find some kind of at least passive support from that
formation. The feeling that there existed an umbrella, so to say.<<
The moral imperative, ideology and concepts of "right and wrong" or in the
American context "the inalienable rights of man" had always played a
powerful role in the life of American and in my life. Ideology - the idea as
morality, shaped who I am and much of this early ideology was derived from the
Church - the King James version of the Bible; intense political discussions
in the home and the social, economic and political environment of Detroit
in the 1960's.
Before I had located Cuba on the map, "I knew" - was taught from a thousand
and one different directions, that the Cuban Revolution was right, just
and the people of Cuba wanted to be free to choose their own destiny. The
year was 1968. The younger militants had just returned from visiting Cuba and
said Fidel was a great leader and Che was a fearless fighter and
revolutionary against American imperialism. American imperialism was why blacks in
America were fighting and dying in the streets and why my father fought on
the job and in the union. American imperialism was why "the government"
hated blacks, Malcolm X and he supported the Cuban Revolution. In 1968, months
after the Great Detroit Rebellion of 1967, I was 16 years old and felt
myself to be a man. At 16, "I knew" something was wrong with the Soviet Union
and this wrong resided in something identified as a lack of democracy which
meant for me people in the Soviet Union were treated worse than blacks in
Yet, in my mind the Soviet Union was powerful with missiles, a huge army
and the Soviets supported Cuba, although the Soviets could not be trusted and
China could be trusted. The Soviets could not be trusted because of what
they did to Lumumba and the Congo. I did not know what the Soviets did to
Lumumba, but I did not like it. No one around me liked it and thus I hated
what I did not know. My hate of what the Soviets did, and passion was real
and part of a political continuum and ideology that seemed to have no
beginning of end. In 1969/70 while searching for more books to read in the groups
office library I picked up a book in a trilogy; the title read "The
Prophet Armed." The title of the other two books read, "The Prophet Unarmed" and
"The Prophet Outcast." I open the first book and when I stopped reading
three days later all three books had been read and I was horrified at the
treatment of the man named Trotsky. This was during the period of the
Sino-Soviet split and I was most certainly firmly within the China polarity because
everyone else was.
Who is this man called Stalin? Why is he condemned by some and praised by
others? What is the Soviet Union and its history? Whose side is the Soviet
Union on in the "Vietnam conflict?" I located a small pamphlet with the name
of Stalin on it. The title read: Marxism and the National Question"
grouped with a half dozen books from Calcutta, all on the national and national
colonial question. I read Marxism and the national question and was
profoundly affected. The only other books to affected me on this level and alter my
thinking was the autobiography of Malcolm X and Ludwig Feuerbach & the End
of Classical German Philosophy. Marxism and the National Question was
about me . . . personally, my family and everyone I knew. This book was about
Cuba and China and the colonial revolts and revolutions sweeping the earth.
Lenin's writings on the national question and national-colonial question
now made sense! Classes in their rise and fall made sense; capitalism made
sense. The "Prophet" trilogy did not make sense because something is missing
and I do not know what the missing something is or in what it consists.
The "Third World" makes no sense. There can be no third way between
American imperialism or Soviet Power. That is why the comrades say the "Third
Way" is bullshit and can never be supported on the ideological and theoretical
plan, but one must unconditionally support revolution and revolutionary
impulses through the world, with Cuba holding a special place in our hearts.
Fidel is militant, principled and sending troops to confront the
imperialists in areas of the sharpest conflicts while the Soviets hurl insults and
preached the dangers of nuclear war, as a cover for cowardice and appeasement
"Send conventional weapons to the combatants in the hot war against
aggressive American imperialism," we thought.
"Be like Cuba."
"Do not hate Soviet Power or the Soviet Union. Criticize a general policy
and theoretical proposition, but never align yourself in such a way that you
are part of the enemy attack against Soviet power. Never . . . ever . . .
mistake a theoretical proposition for the concrete struggle taking place in
real time. Support revolutions unconditionally and states conditionally
and you will never be maneuvered into aligning with your enemy."
30 years have passed since these early lessons.
Fighting within a polarity is not for the faint of heart. Anyone can throw
theoretical "alley apples" - bricks, at any given leader, or criticize any
given policy of any government and party on earth. In fact we seem to excel
at this kind of intellectual activity in America, which I suppose
expresses the daily power of being part of the most imperial of all imperialist
states. Anyone in America with a computer can daily search the CIA factbook
and get the raw basic information on every country on earth and then
superimpose their personal ideology over the raw data and facts.
The Cuban Revolution is an objective historically evolved social process.
The revolution created and then was guided by its subjective elements: the
revolutionaries. At the same time the form and content of the revolution
evolves against and through these aspects in a world that is leaping to a new
mode of production or a genuine revolution in the underlying machinery of
industrial society. It is this underlying revolution in the material power
of production that began the dislocation of the Soviet Union. This
dislocation was written about in the early 1980s. At the time a popular book on
this subject was the 1980 published "The Third Wave," which was the decade
follow up book of the 1970 issued "Future Shock."
The overthrow of Soviet power and the break up of the Soviet Union by
imperial reaction and domestic agents of the imperialist bourgeoisie was not
inevitable although the transformation of the Soviet Union was inevitable as
the result of changes in the productive forces of society. The revolution
always, without exception begins in the productive machinery of society,
while insurrection and insurrectionary movements arise as the material
expression of the contest for political authority. In my opinion this distinction
is not understood well enough across the broad communists and Marxist
The danger to the Cuban revolution is presented from many directions. The
revolution in the productive forces as Cuba races ahead to realize and
implements these new tools and machinery and the insurrectionary movement always
present in all modern societies are two important aspects of the general
danger. American imperialism's 50 year pressure on tiny Cuba exacerbates
the two aspects of the revolutionary process and the easing of the blockade
against Cuba is viewed by our domestic reaction as a new basis for renewed
attacks to over throw Cuban socialism as its society is slowly dislocated in
response to the universal revolution in production.
Revolution in the productive forces always dislocate and reorder society .
. . period.
Today, socialism has been thoroughly grasped by the Cuban masses as the
necessary form of the revolution in the mode of production. Socialism is a
material force in Cuba because it allows for the constant expansion and
consolidation of the content of the political insurrection, which was freedom
and independence from American imperialism.
The overthrow of Cuban socialism today would mean the reduction of the
absolute majority of the population to the status of blacks in America and the
reordering of Cuban society back to and on the basis of the color factor in
our common history. In this sense Obama possesses a serious social problem
for Cuba. Before the revolution Cuba was perhaps 30% black. Today, Cuba is
perhaps 75% black. The idea that the color factor is not an aspect of the
revolution cannot be assumed.
Domestic reaction in Cuba understands what all of us understand: the
tendency of globalism - capitalism in the era of the electronics revolution,
tend to apply pressure for the dismantling of the national state, as it had
existed, while favoring domestic leaders as the supreme political authority
within states. Reaction today can formulate political ideological as
anti-colonial while bringing Cuba into "reality relations" of today and improve
the standard of living of the Cuban masses.
A tendency of the left in Cuba attack the socialist bureaucracy - Ariel
Dias, without regard to the state being the fundamental armed guardian of
socialist property in Cuba. The attacks takes place through a liberal and
bourgeois analysis of the bureaucracy as a historical artifact and the role of
"the Soviet bureaucracy" in history.
This tendency, view inequality in Cuba as being the result of wrong policy
rather than having its roots in the division of labor and is destined to
intersect with the counterrevolution. Inequality in consumption or equality
in consumption is not and has never been the hallmark of socialism or
economic communism. Consequently, Dias views the savior of the Cuban revolution
to consistent in smart and enlightened rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrevolutionary people,
rather than ideological firmness. Ideology and the moral imperative is not
identical to theoretical disposition. Theoretical insight is most
certainly important but what saves the revolution ass is ideology and the moral
commitment to die for the revolution.
In my opinion Dias writing on the Soviet experience is outright incorrect,
dangerous and express a petty bourgeois ideological trend in Cuba, whose
end game leaves the revolution defenseless against the onslaught of imperial
capital. The bureaucracy cannot be defeated decisively outside the process
of the withering away of the state. Bureaucratism is continuously defeated
on the basis of ideological commitment and streamlining the actual
administrative function of the state and production units in league with apply new
forms of productive equipment that renders one layer after another
redundant. Ideological commitment as revolutionary credential means avoiding
privileges and working whole heartedly for the revolution, even as the masses
surge forwards to enjoy the fruits of our modern consumer society.
At times this form of ideological struggle appears to have more in common
with Catholicism and doctrines of the love of flesh, but this is not the
whole picture. The masses themselves hold in contempt those who privilege is
acquired by party membership or ones social position within the bureaucracy.
Is a counterrevolutionary restoration of bourgeois property possible in
Cuba? Yes. Cuba does not possess the material foundation for economic
communism. Nor, did the Soviet Union. Once a new mode of production - not simply
the property form in the superstructure, takes root and begins its
development it is impossible to drag society back to a mode of production, which the
new mode grew out of . It was only at a certain stage of development of the
productive machinery of society that capitalism as the industrial system
of commodity production could not be dragged back to the landed property
relations and landed property as the primary form of property relations.
Until Cuba achieve the material foundation for economic communism, which is
in the distant future, ideological firmness is the key to whether the
revolution can withstand the tremendous pressure the counterrevolution exerts
against it. Revolution in America would diminish such danger but not totally
render such impossible.
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